Wednesday, June 10, 2020
From Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington):
I thought the Tax Prof Blog community might be interested to know that a tax professor was one of the peaceful protestors trapped in a house on Swann Street for 8 hours while police gassed the house and tried to get inside.
After dinner on Monday, June 1st, my husband and I heard protestors outside our window. We support the movement for black lives and decided to join them. After two blocks of peacefully chanting ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘George Floyd,’ police directed us onto Swann Street. We complied. At the end of the block, we were greeted by roughly 50 National Guard soldiers in camouflage standing before military vehicles. We were unarmed, of course, in jeans and tee-shirts. We turned around and walked back towards 15th street, only to find riot police pooling into the street blocking any egress to our home. Above us, a military helicopter circled. Then, without provocation other than our peaceful assembly after curfew and chants for black lives, the police started firing gas at us and charging. I also heard explosions. There was a stampede as protesters tried to flee for their lives, afraid they would be bludgeoned, choked, stomped, or shot. By the grace of g-d, my husband and I were ushered into a stranger’s home with 70 other protesters. Police continued to shoot gas into the house. Choking on the fumes and crouched on the floor of the bedroom, I called journalists at WaPo and ProPublica desperate to have press deescalate the violence while braver black youth continued to take footage from the front room. For hours, police continued to try to get into the house and we did not know if we would be casualties of a raid. We did not feel safe to leave till curfew lifted at 6:00 am.
There has been coverage on all the national networks (just search Swann Street and Rahul), but the best video I've seen is here on Huffington Post.
I have attached the picture I took from the front room of the house, which was then tweeted by Washington Post. I remain in awe of the black leaders who have withstood so much more than I and refuse to back down in the fight for equality. I share these details in support of my colleagues who have faced a lifetime of racial injustice and continue to lead the fight against white supremacy.